MACODEF has played a key role in a unique off-campus study experience sponsored by The College of Wooster that introduces students and community members to Kenyan life, with a special focus on the Maragoli area. The Wooster-in-Kenya Program includes both a classroom component, in the spring semester, and a two-week field experience in Kenya during spring break. The spring semester course, Anthropology 231: Peoples and Cultures of Kenya, introduces students to the geography, history, politics, economics, and cultures of Kenya, with a special focus on environment and grassroots development. The trip to Kenya is packed with activities, including visits to non-profits and health clinics that work in urban slums in Nairobi and Kisumu, as well as sessions on environmental and cultural dilemmas facing the Kakamega Rainforest, Lake Victoria, and Maasai Mara Game Reserve. The centerpiece of the trip, however, is our time in the communities of Vigetse and Vigina. Students do homestays in the two villages, attend educational sessions on Maragoli culture taught by MACODEF board members, and provide hands-on assistance on local projects designed by community members. The class meetings prior to the trip prepare students for the experiential component and the post-trip meetings allow for reflection and integration of the experience into the students’ academic course of study. The course structure reflects our philosophy that the most important aspect of global service is taking seriously our responsibilities as learners and to draw upon the rich educational resources so generously offered to us by community members.
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